Sheila Simmonds isn’t your average Drag Queen (if there even is such a thing). Rather than decking herself out in sequins and belting out Liza Minnelli hits, she creates a fully fledged character obsessed with shopping channels. Straight out of a small town in Australia and decked out in her finest pink polyester two-piece suit, Sheila welcomes the audience into her world and we eagerly wiped our feet on the door mat and made ourselves at home.
Unlike some Drag Queens, Shelia cuts a mumsy figure which makes her saucy stories even more unexpected and surprisingly dirty. But rather than being crude, Shelia’s comedy is acutely character based and she commits to her act whole-heartedly. Telling stories about mishaps with a bottle of poppers, internet dating and a war of attrition with a supermarket checkout girl, her act has both hipster homosexuals and little old ladies giggling along with her and thoroughly enjoying the show.
The show centres around Shelia’s rise to fame on an Australian shopping channel and her aspiration to receive a golden name badge from her Mecca: QVC. Demonstrating her impressive selling skills, Simmons impressively reels off product after product after product, parodying the slightly alien-like nature of shopping channel presenters. And that’s where her skills really lie; she commits to her character completely and only slightly hints that perhaps there’s something more hidden in her trousers than packets of Werther’s Originals.
People expecting a down and dirty night with a bespangled Diva may be disappointed as a couple of Shelia’s numbers are a smidge dated, but that’s the appeal. She’s the type of act that you could bring your mum to and you wouldn’t completely die in your seat with embarrassment, although she may struggle to understand all the twitter jokes. Part stand-up, part fabulousness, Shelia Simmons is one #busylady.
Reviewed by Roz Carter